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I've been coordinating a reunion of a bunch of folks I worked with (Residence Life staff) while I was an undergrad, for this summer. Some of us have kept in touch, some not and lives have definitely diverged in a lot of ways but we had a very close, shared supportive friendship while on staff together (and several of us have maintained that now more than ten years later, hard to believe it's been that long!
: )

Anyway, about half of us are married and have kids, most of the kids being under 4 years of age and probably 3-5 which will be less than a year old at the reunion this summer. And I have found myself really worrying about how NIP will go at the reunion ....


I mentioned it to DH and his response (go DH) was - "If our baby needs to nurse, she can nurse, and they can look away if they have a problem with it!"
Which, normally, I'd agree with 100%.

But -- given that these are people whose friendships meant a lot to me in the past, several of whose friendships (long distance) mean a lot to me even now, and all of whom I respect(ed) .... I guess my largest worry is that I am hoping that it will be a moot issue, I don't want to have NIP even be an issue because I don't want those feelings to change on my part.

On the other hand, I don't want to hide out to nurse or to assume that there will be problems when there might not be. But ... I do know one of my good friends who'll be there weaned her ds at 6 months so she could go out in public again (she was that uncomfortable with NIP). I suspect at least one other mom is as crunchy as I am, but I'm betting that there will be some very main-stream, ff and beyond moms there as well. And, of course, there would be spouses there as well who are completely unknown (mostly) to me in terms of their personalities, etc.

I'm planning on just relaxing and NIP when and as I need to throughout the weekend. Over the years, I've stored up all kinds of snappy smart-aleck responses to people who criticize NIP. But I don't necessarily want to use those on *these* people - if someone has issue, I'd like to have some comebacks which create a dialogue and educate instead, if anything.

Has anyone had a similar situation and how did it go?
Has anyone got some quick and easy comebacks which would work in such a situation? All I can think of are things like, "Well, baby can be covered with a blanket while eating if you'll do the same," which in this situation would be more combative than I'd like.

I think, "No, thanks, we're comfortable right here" would work well if someone offers that I could/should go somewhere else ... what else? I've also thought, depending on what's said, I could pretend that I'm assuming they're joking. You know:
A: You know, you really should cover up.
Me: Har, har, har, you know, it's so funny to hear you joking about that, I've heard that there are still some people who think there's something dirty or sexual about nursing, can you *imagine*?!
 

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You know, I set up a myspace site, and I was a little worried that some of my old sorority friends might think strange things when they see info on my site about breastfeeding activism.

So I was getting a slow start, but put the Hathor cartoon up. One of my sorority friends, who is newly married and an event planner in NYC, posted a comment that she thought it was great. So, I was worried about nothing.

I think you might be too. If your friend weaned at 6 months, it's because SHE wasn't comfortable NIP. It doesn't mean that she'll be uncomfortable if you do it.

I would just take a relaxed approach to it, like your DH suggested.
 

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I think you just need to approach it as any other gathering you would be attending... a "Here I am and I happen to be nursing" attitude. I think you may be suprised that most of them will be supportive of it and frankly if there are those who will judge you for nursing your baby where and when your baby needs it, then perhaps you are better off without their "friendship". A real friend is not going to let it stand in the way of the relationship they had with you, anymore then you would allow a good friend to slip away because you disagree with her bottle feeding, kwim?

If anyone does have an issue and the nerve to approach you with it, say "I am suprised that you would feel that way. Can you explain to me why you do?" and use that to start dialogue. Educate them on not just the benefits of bf, but also the laws that protect the NIP, including Human Rights. You may want to have some literature on hand that supports your arguments, I'm sure there are downloadable pdf's out there, check the LLL site. So armed you may feel more confident in explaining to these people, especially since I doubt they'll be armed with pamphlets that declare "NIP WRONG! BF SHOULD BE DONE IN SECRET". If they do, smack 'em for me please


Good luck, and try not to let the worry of the NIP issue interfere with your good time re-connecting.
 

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I think you might be pleasantly surprised. Just because someone else didn't nurse, extended nurse or NIP doesn't mean they would think negatively of YOU for doing so. In fact, you may provide a wonderful example to some other woman who might be nervous about nursing.

Before I had ds, my one and only experience of seeing a mom breastfeed was a work colleague that I respected. I remember feeling kind of squirmy because I didn't know that she was perfectly comfortable with my presence-- I thought I was supposed to give her privacy. It seems so strange now; she must have thought I didn't like seeing her nurse, but I really thought it was great.

Who knows, there might be a woman there who will think of you one day when she decides to continue nursing beyond infancy.
 

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Just recently I saw a guy I was really close friends with through most of college. We've kept in touch since then, but hadn't seen each other for more than 5 minutes in the past five years (I moved cross country). We we saw him at Christmas, he was kind of freaked out when I nursed my two and a half year old son, but he just said, "I know its totally natural and the best thing for kids, but its just SO WEIRD because I'm not used to seeing it!" and he looked away. But, later on the phone he told me that NIP doesn't really bother him, which is a big change for him. So, I think I did some good.
I also saw another college friend the same week, and he didn't bat an eye at me nursing my kids, one after another. If these people really are good friends then they won't want to make you uncomfortable, either - so they probably won't say anything!
 

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having now nursed at a 20th high school reunion, i want to address the issue of how important these people really are in your life.

when thinking of high school/college days there's a tendency to feel like you did back then: what your friends thought of you, the bonding and peer pressure, was of paramount importance. but fast forward 10, 20 years, and you'll find that you're more comfortable going your own way. you have the security of your connection to your spouse and kids and current friends to ground you, so if you happen to encounter any disapproval (assuming they're rude enough to express it), it won't sting like it would have in college.
 

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I think that the vast majority of people would be supportive of breastfeeding a six-month old baby, even in public. It's breastfeeding older children that people get squirmy about.

When I was in my 20s, working, single and childless, I had a old college friend visit me one week with her husband and 2 children. We were outside some place and my friend's 3-year old needed some comfort and she picked her up and started to nurse her. I looked in shock and said, "Wendy, isn't she too OLD for breastfeeding???" to which my friend responded of course not, breastmilk is healthy long beyond infancy, the WHO recommends..., yadda yadda yadda.

Anyway, was I surprised? Yes (although she had always been the granola type)! Was I a little squirmy being with a woman who was breastfeeding her 3-year old in public? Absolutely. But it was an educating moment, we are still friends to this day and, while I am no longer breastfeeding my toddler, a lot of the AP/NFL things that I do are thanks to what I learned from that friend.
 
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